The Kenya government plans to construct and upgrade 64,5 00 kilometres of roads in its 2008-2012 development plan to enable it scale up i n vestment, attract private investment and increase productivity, President Mwai K i baki announced here Monday at the opening of an Infrastructure Bond Conference.
He said the government planned to spend Kenya Shillings 186 billion (US$ 1 =70 S hillings) in development of infrastructure in the next five years because the co u ntry could not achieve sustained rapid growth without investing heavily in infra s tructure.
He reminded Kenyans that revamping the infrastructure was not restricted to the road network only, as it also entailed investing in ports and the energy sector.
“Improving the quality of infrastructure will also enable our people to access h ealth and education services with ease, while also increasing their incomes thro u gh better access to markets,” said Kibaki.
Kibaki said over the same period, the government would concession toll roads to be built by the private sector as well as develop the port of Mombasa and constr u ct a second port at Lamu.
Other major transport infrastructure projects include development of a rapid bus and light rail system in the Nairobi metropolitan area.
Further, the current railway line will be modernised and expanded.
“In addition, we also plan to construct a railway line from Lamu to Southern Sud an and Ethiopia,” said Kibaki.
On the energy sector, Kibaki said there was the need to expand the power generat ion capacity as “demand for power supply increases as the economy expands”.
“The government is committed to expanding the generation capacity, including div ersifying the sources of energy, and upgrading the transmission and distribution network,” he said.
To expand generation capacity, Kenya needs to invest a substantial amount of res ources in geothermal energy development.
“This is the reason I recently launched the Kenya Geothermal Company to harness geothermal energy,” he said.
On sources of funds, he said there were large amounts of financial resources hel d by pension funds and other private agencies that could be tapped by parastatal s providing infrastructure services.
“Many of these institutions have strong balance sheets. They should now be able to access those resources to finance infrastructural development programmes, Kib a ki said, adding that he was hopeful that the best performing organisation with a
good track record, could pioneer and issue their own infrastructure bonds without necessarily requiring government guarantees.”